Sharks may attack us humans, especially during slow news summers, but does that make it okay for us to slaughter them? Many chefs don't dare serve up shark fin soup due to its controversial nature, but Animal Tourism says there are plenty of places in the city with the dish—considered a delicacy in Chinese cuisine— on their menus.
First off, sharks only kill around 10 people every year in comparison to the 100 million sharks we kill. CNN reported in the past that "the fate of the shark is grim. Increasing public awareness of the shark's role in the marine ecosystem and the rapid rate of extinction because of the demand for shark fin soup may be the best hope for the shark, which has inhabited the planet for 400 million years." In fact, some shark species have depleted by 80% in the past couple of decades (including hammerheads and great whites).
The act of finning is cruel—the fins are chopped off from live sharks, who are then tossed back into the water to die—yet there are still at least 56 restaurants in the city serving up shark fin soup (and even 3 vegetarian ones with mock fin!), according to Animal Tourism's online research. They say "the biggest hunk—20—are in Chinatown. But they're all over the city, not just in restaurants only frequented by Chinese diners. Shanghai, near Macy's, serves five versions ranging from $33-$41. The Upper East Side's Our Place has a bowl for $12. In Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, East Harbor Seafood Palace features a whole shark-fin soup category on its menu, with options from $55-$75." Recently, renowned chef Alice Waters had to revisit her love of shark fin soup, after catching some flak.
After the jump, National Geographic takes a look at finning, and it's even further explored in the documentary Sharkwater.